The quiet joys and foibles of solo living.

Reflections on the first 3 months of lockdown

same shit

A little detail from one of my autobiographical zines.

Did anyone carry out their great creative intentions for their stay-at-home period, back in March and April 2020? I, for one, imagined myself keeping a thorough ISO diary right here. I would also:

  • work on a non-fiction book I’m writing
  • work on my short-story collection
  • work on two ‘How to’ ebooks that I have in mind
  • do a final draft of the novel I wrote a few years ago
  • continue to make my short-story zines and pivot them to be digital
  • continue to make small oil paintings of my favourite Insta photos
  • re-do the illustrations for my children’s book
  • do a massive home declutter
  • study te reo Maori


When I recall that time, I was initially delighted to be freed from work, having been handed a redundancy. But I was used to an intense schedule and productivity habits, so I turned up to my home desk and putting in a good 30 hour week in the “work of looking for work”.  In fact I was the model of job-seeking obligation. I:

  • watched webinars on job-search skills
  • groomed my resume
  • applied for jobs, even before getting my Centrelink job plan
  • did self-study to improve my copywriting
  • made extensive lists of all my contacts
  • groomed my LinkedIn profile and started writing posts
  • did video sessions with a career coach
  • tidied my desk and sorted all old paperwork
  • networked and picked up freelance odds & ends, including some voluntary work
  • continued to study Spanish (but only because my classes continued!)

I got into a daily rhythm and continued to observe weekends. I didn’t jump straight onto Netflix. I did do some decluttering – mainly in evenings while listening to podcasts.

I got into the good habit of walking or jogging every day. I lost a couple of kilos – though this was also due to some initial anxiety and associated loss of appetite, plus food-spending frugality due to initial money concerns. I didn’t allow myself many snacks.

But all that creativity?  I think I dabbled briefly on one book intention.  Deadlines, and having limited spare time, have always been the best discipline for me. And I had neither.

By mid-May, my double Job Seeker allowance had kicked in. I was spending so little on anything except food and bills that I managed to save. Or at the very least, prevent my savings account from being eroded.   By the end of May, I realised I had one more week before my mutual obligations for Centrelink kicked in and I would have to start providing proof of job applications. I decided to give myself a full week of nothing but relaxation, self care and creativity.

As fate would have it, that’s when I was approached by at least three clients about a bunch of freelance work – with deadlines all crunching together at once. It turned out to a very busy week, money was earned, and I even felt some familiar old work stress. Needless to say, there was zero “my creative” output.

As for being alone? I was kind-of over it. Zoom catch-up sessions had started to die off, as rules began to relax and people were able to have five guests to their homes, and to visit family again. I felt left out. I even wished that Stage 3 would continue, so that introverts like me wouldn’t experience the return of FOMO.

They say be careful what you wish for. Sorry everyone.  But also, they’re now saying lockdown should have been harder. Well, lockdown 2.0 is here in Victoria.  This time around, I’m going to make use of my time differently. And let’s hope we can knock this on the head.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on July 14, 2020 by in Housebound: the Isolation Journal and tagged , , , .
%d bloggers like this: